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montana adventuring

What a trip!  The kids and I journeyed to Montana… and found Kalispell (and all of Washington, Idaho and western Montana) full of thick smoke.  We enjoyed our family anyway with swimming, fishing, hiking, mud, playing games, helping the Browns move into their new house, eating at Hu Hut, and spending some time with Alan and Sarah, too.  Then we left the smoke behind to join Eric and Vivien at a cabin in Ennis, outside Bozeman.  We enjoyed the quiet beauty of the mountains and plains (and the blue, not-too smoky sky), went to a history museum and Bozeman Hot Springs, ziplined and whitewater rafted, and spent a day visiting our much-missed Burton friends and Christina, too.  What amazing memories we made in Montana!

point no point

The kids and I took one last trip to Point no Point beach with our Burton friends.  Havilah and I were both feeling a bit ashamed that the last time we’d both gone to Point no Point was when we went together, last spring.  Such a beautiful beach and for some reason life keeps us busy in one way or another… and we put the beach aside.  Darn life.  Because that sandy, driftwood covered shore next to soft blue water with schools of fish shooting by and eagles soaring overhead…. well, it is just amazing.  We spent all afternoon there and even missed dinner while the kids played, moms talked, and I took a few pretty water photos.  We sure will miss our beach friends.

friends at the fort

The old military batteries at Fort Worden are super fun; the kids love running through the dark blind tunnels, finding passages and secret rooms, and starting at one end and seeing where they’ll come out.  We’ve gone back several times, and each time I’ve thought that we really needed to bring the Burton kids there to run around with us.  So we finally got them to go with us, and it was EXACTLY what I thought it would be— kids running, playing, and having a great time in a cool place.  The Burton kids are VERY fun, willing to take risks and have adventures, to get wet and get dirty.  We feel a sense of connection with their parents, too– it might be because they are from Montana (close to Kalispell), were raised doing the same things and going to the same places Matt did as a kid, and are still connected with Matt’s family–and they have been stationed here in Bremerton with us.  They love being outside, going to beaches, and living the simple kind of life we do.  Now they are busting out of the Navy and moving back to Montana.

I’ve learned a lot from them about the kind of parent and person I want to be, and about the possibilities for how people can be in the world.  It’s a pretty sad and strange feeling to know that after developing a relationship with a friend, you most likely won’t ever see them again.  It’s the kind of thing we try not to dwell much on in the military, in order to survive having to do this so often.  We will sure miss you guys and always remember you and your influence on us.

mount townsend

Being in decent shape right now for walking up a mountain, we decided to go ahead and make the (4 miles straight up) trip up Mount Townsend.  It was hard, but, as usual on long hikes, something happened along the trail where we all let go of being grouchy and started opening up to the present moment.  At the top, we were literally walking on clouds, surrounded by their moving mist.  It was pretty neat.

montana vacation, part three: alan and sarah

We’ve been visiting with our ultra-creative-nudist-artist-gardener-musician-traveler-hippie friends for a long time now, and the more we get to know them, the more thankful we are for them.  Their awesomeness can only be experienced, not described.  Usually we gather for an afternoon or dinner date, but this time we spent a couple of nights at their house… and we are hooked.  Now all we want to do is stay there more often and for longer stretches.  We really appreciate you guys in so many ways, both for the kindness and teaching you offer Matt and I, and for the way we see you creating with and supporting our children.  I love the way my kids are when they are with you.  We hope to see you in Italy, and to come back and stay with you again soon.

montana vacation, part two: camping

After our teepee adventure with the Joneses, we headed up into the mountains for our fourth annual camping trip at Ten Lakes Basin.  The weather was gorgeous, the lakes were cold, the fishing was good, the guitar was lovely, the hiking was hard and beautiful, the relaxing-in-the-sun-next-to-a-mountain-lake was so nice, and the family fun and togetherness grew more and more with each day.   There’s just something about being in the quiet of nature that is so good for our family.  This might be our last time out here for awhile, sadly, and I can’t say more about that without crying.

montana vacation, part one: jones time!

Our annual Montana vacation started with a weekend with the Joneses extended crew.  Jean found us a sweet spot to “camp” with teepees, a grill, electric coffee, and all the amenities we could ask for.  The days were scorchers, so we cooled off at the lake nearby.  We long now for that clear, warm lake, we miss our clan, and we are grateful for those memories.